Are retailers set for extinction?

Whether you are a publisher, developer or retailer the message clear: it happened to music, and it will happen to us. The difference for games is that we are already prepared.

Yes, there is an evolving ball of new digital issues some areas of the industry still need to get comfortable with; broadband speeds, social networking, microtransactions, viral marketing, in-game advertising, piracy, privacy…

But there is collective foresight of these issues – and enthusiasm to exploit such things, rather than allow them to become the major problems they have posed for music and movies.

Undoubtedly, there are going to be companies that pioneer and push the boundaries. One or two of them probably haven’t even been founded yet.

That doesn’t entirely mean traditional retailers will be swallowed by some swirling black hole, as Simon Fox’s words on our cover this week prove. His vision for the High Street is both radical and sensible.

Not only must his words be news to investors’ ears, it might be a rude awakening for those still not listening at the back.

He’s right: Just because, as Fox says, ‘recorded media is moving away from retail’, it doesn’t mean it’s time to move away from entertainment. Not everyone will be expected to start opening their own cinemas and live event venues, but it’s proof retail can remain relevant – even if it ultimately ends up selling no discs whatsoever.

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